IMPERATIVE TO MITIGATE COVERT INFECTIONS AND FOMITE EXPOSURE:
We should advocate that everyone wear masks under exposure conditions such as while in public spaces (and near people) to mitigate covert infections, or while exposed to fomites that may carry Coronavirus.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR:
1. PROTECT OTHERS: Dr. Marc Siegel made the best argument I've heard to date – he stated that everyone should wear masks while in contact with others because ASYMPTOMATIC CARRIERS MAY BE SPREADING THE DISEASE TO OTHERS AND NOT KNOW IT. In other words, if you wear a mask, you can protect others from yourself while you are near them (you may not know you have Coronavirus).
2. CONTACT WITH CONTAGION: Another Doctor stated on TV that a large number of people contract Coronavirus by touching their own face. Therefore, wearing a mask, at minimum, prevents people from semi-unconsciously touch their own face after touching contaminated fomites carrying Coronavirus.
3. COVERT INFECTIONS: Early on researchers provided an estimate that as many as 59% of people carrying Coronavirus are "out and about" in public with little or no symptoms or otherwise untested and unknowing they are contagious and may spread the disease.
1. PROPER USE: There are mandatory protocols and requirements that must be followed. Failure to use the mask properly gives a false sense of security. The protection capability of the mask only works when exercising appropriate hygiene, such as washing hands before donning it or touching it, and avoiding direct contamination of the mask with droplets or other sources of the Coronavirus.
2. SHORTAGES: We will run out for those who really need them in the medical industry.
3. MASK QUALITY: Not all masks protect equally. E.g. effective N95 masks have a "gasket" that ensures a smooth seal and size fitted to your face such that air is filtered appropriately through the protective fibers. N99 and N100 masks offer improved filtering. Whereas, other masks are further appropriate for surgical settings (sterile and splash resistant). Other inferior masks provide a very limited barrier.
The window of time whereby people are contagious and unknowingly or asymptomatically may spread the Coronavirus to others, must be mitigated, and I believe the widespread use of an appropriate mask in public spaces near people and fomites could support that goal. Furthermore, masks are a barrier that helps to prevent self-contamination. If the majority of people can learn to drive cars in the U.S., then we can certainly LEARN how to wear masks properly (it's not rocket-science). On this point, NGO's, officers, and advocacy groups can help the public learn how to implement the mask safety measure (e.g. just as the local fire department will install a Child Safety seat in a vehicle). Also, if smart people would bring manufacturing jobs back into our country then we would have the industrial base and capacity to make as many masks as anyone could ever want (NO SHORTAGES). I advocate for the prohibition of political speech or actions that thwarts bringing manufacturers home (especially those with the capacity to make relevant respirators and PPE). I further advocate for the prohibition of relying upon certain adverse recommendations from WHO, as they are currently directed by the mouth-piece for China, and have consistently been wrong on important subject matters during the Coronavirus pandemic. We must be self-reliant and utilize our own experts at the CDC, NIH, DOD, other agencies, and PPP to identify a standard mask TYPE AND QUALITY that the public could wear, advocate it, and make it widely available. Wearing the mask is a component of mitigating public exposure and the overall spread of Coronavirus. I recognize here that it must be done in conjunction with other smart engineering controls and precautions (e.g. nursing homes and other vulnerable populations take additional steps). Therefore, the public should be educated through public media and other messaging as to how to use face masks to mitigate Coronavirus spread, and as to who, what mask, when, where, and why they should engage in these courses of action. If 48% of the U.S. population can be supplied and drink soda pop every day without fail, then we can certainly supply masks to save lives (100,000-240,000 projected deaths).
FURTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND SOURCES:
=>FIRST LINE GUIDANCE: CDC Guidance on preventing the spread of Coronavirus is here:
=>FOMITES AND AEROSOLS: Coronavirus may be spread as human expectorant or live on surfaces and objects for up to 3 days and infect the public. According to CDC-Princeton University initial research, DISINFECTION IS CRITICAL TO MITIGATING THE SPREAD of Coronavirus COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), because it is transmittable through the air, person to person and via contaminated surfaces. This research stated in their Abstract (lines 36-37) "viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel."